Downtown Spartanburg is growing, and one example of that growth lies in the newly-opened Hub City Co-op.

The co-op, located at 176 N. Liberty St., Spartanburg, is the first of its kind in South Carolina. It is a community-owned natural grocery store, but you don’t have to be an owner to shop there. Shopping at the co-op is a unique experience.

While there are similarities to traditional grocery stores, the product selection focuses more on quality, healthful ingredients and supporting the local economy than its traditional counterparts. The 5,000 square-foot store is full of products from a number of local vendors, including Blue Moon Sauces, Spices & Spreads, Those Pickle Ladies, Happy Cow Creamery and Little River Roasting Co.

“Not only are we owned by members of the community, we try to support local businesses by carrying their products,” Garland McQueen, general manager, said.

As of April, the store carried products from 35 vendors based in South Carolina, Western North Carolina or Northeast Georgia. One of the more unique offerings is the wide variety of items available for purchase in bulk. There are more than 150 different items including flours, spices, grits, beans, dried nuts and fruits, and coffees. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers and buy only the amount they need.

In addition to food products, the store carries essential oils, vitamins, chemical-free beauty and hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and paper goods. If you are in the co-op at meal time, stop by the deli for a sandwich, wrap or pasta salad, or make a plate at the counter, hot bar or soup and salad bar. The long, handcrafted table that sits in the front of the store encourages a sense of community.

“You never know who you will meet,” McQueen said.

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